Posts Tagged ‘Film’


April 3, 2017

A long time ago, I sat out on my drive way and took some pictures of the moon. I know I was in South West Austin, and the it had to be from 1998 to 2005.

Like many photographer before me, I tried to take some pics of the moon. I no longer know what kind of gear I used, but I believe that I used a Canon FTb with a Vivitar Series 1 100 – 300mm zoom lens. I also used a vintage (even then) table top tripod.

Here is a challenge for you. Use a table top tripod on your drive way and take some pics of the moon. Go on. Get your face right down there to the concrete. (I could have gotten a sensible sized tripod. I could have gotten a table to go with the table top tripod. I did none of these things.)

The Canon FTb is a strictly manual camera with only a match needle light meter built in. This mean when you look through the view finder, there is a needle that indicates the amount of light in your scene. You adjust the aperture so that the aperture indicator in the view, is more or less lined up with the needle. (I was using print film. You can be pretty sloppy with your exposure on print film.)

This needle is black. The night sky is black. See a problem? Or maybe don’t see a problem? Actually, just move that part of the viewfinder to look at the moon, make the adjustment and then move back. (Remember the part about print film? If you ever get into film photography, just remember this magic phrase. Print film has a wide latitude. It will make sense later.)

The shots did not turn out well. Part of the reason is that the moon moves across the sky rather quickly. (If you actually understand astronomy, you know that last sentence is not exactly correct.) So to take a good picture of the moon, you need to have a short exposure time. (Relatively short.) The shots I took that had good exposure time, did not allow enough light to reach the film. The shots that did get enough light had the aperture open so long, the moon looks smeared across the frame. (So yes, even with the latitude of print film, you can still get an underexposed shot.)

The two most pleasing are the underexposed ones. These let you see the “seas” on the moon.


Blurry, may be out of focus or simply moving to fast for the exposure time.


Definitely moving too fast.


The length of time keeps the moon “frozen” but is underexposed and grainy. (Insert chorus of “Let it Go” here…


Another one with good shutter speed, but too slow film.


The aperture was open too long. The details are washed out and the moon is moving across the frame. Also there is no graininess from underexposure.


This one is close. Good time exposure that freezes the motion, but too much light that washes out the detail. Maybe can fix with Photoshop or similar?


Another blurred edge and washed out details.


Another one that is close.


Omar reacting dangerously to moon light. Look out! Look out! Or is he just yawning?